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But wait, those shouldn't be considered bad news right? The less costly alternatives appeared to overclock just as well.
Those of you that just want to push an E6400 (for example) to 3.0GHz, should be just as likely to succeed with the ASUS P5K-SE as you would with the Deluxe version. So for the majority of you out there when it comes to performance and overclocking abilities, any of the Intel P35 motherboards tested here today will serve you well.
On the high end...
The P5K Deluxe costs around $220 while the P35-DQ6 is closer to $230. Both are impressive looking motherboards that come with a fantastic package. Of the two we are leaning towards the P5K Deluxe, as the board design is more compatible with high-end heatsinks, the performance was marginally better, and its overclocking abilities are superior. While it would be difficult to go wrong with either of these two motherboards, we have found the ASUS option to be a slightly better value.
Shooting for the mainstream...
Choosing between these three boards is a real toss up as they are so evenly matched. However once again we have to go with the ASUS board as it is around $30 cheaper and offers everything found on the Abit IP35 Pro and Gigabyte P35-DS4. In fact we have found the ASUS P5K-E to be so good at the $155 price point, that it really makes the P5K Deluxe somewhat pointless at $220!
More affordable solutions...
When it came time to overclock these two motherboards, the ASUS P5K-SE did fall short of the target set by the Abit IP35-E. We have found the Abit IP35-E to be a much more appealing motherboard, as it still has that high-end look and feel about it. So this time Abit delivered the goods.
Below the $100 mark...
The Gigabyte P35-S3L features a cleaner design and looks to be the better quality motherboard of the two. Gigabyte is also well known for their regular BIOS updates and they also offer a small arsenal of utilities that make owning one of their motherboards much more worthwhile. Utilities such as Gigabyte @BIOS are extremely easy to use and very handy. Therefore we would recommend the Gigabyte board, but at the end of the day both are excellent low cost solutions.
Testing and comparing these nine motherboards over the last month has been interesting, as they all performed much the same regardless of whether they were geared for performance or not. Things that are often hyped about, such as 8 or even 12-phase power designs, really failed to prove their worth when compared to boards featuring the most basic 4-phase designs. The improved cooling designs of the more high-end boards are impressive and very worthwhile upgrades. When it comes to buying a P35 motherboard we have found it more important to focus on features and price above everything else, particularly for the average user.
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